1. When we know about the future we normally use the present tense.

  • We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged:

We have a lesson next Monday.
The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning.
The holidays start next week.
It is my birthday tomorrow.

  • We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:

I’m playing football tomorrow.
They are coming to see us tomorrow.
We’re having a party at Christmas.

2. We use will to talk about the future:

  • When we make predictions:

It will be a nice day tomorrow.
I think Brazil will win the World Cup.
I’m sure you will enjoy the film.

  • To mean want to or be willing to:

I hope you will come to my party.
George says he will help us.

  • To make offers and promises:

I'll see you tomorrow.
We'll send you an email.

  • To talk about offers and promises:

Tim will be at the meeting.
Mary will help with the cooking.

3. We use (be) going to:

  • To talk about plans and intentions:

I’m going to drive to work today.
They are going to move to Manchester.

  • When we can see that something is likely to happen:

Be careful! You are going to fall.
Look at those black clouds. I think it’s going to rain.

4. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the future:

What are you going to do next year? I’d like to go to University.
We plan to go to France for our holidays.
George wants to buy a new car.

5. We use modals may, might, and could when we are not sure about the future:

I might stay at home tonight, or I might go to the cinema.
We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes.

6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen:

We should be home in time for tea.
The game should be over by eight o’clock.

7. Clauses with time words:

In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

I’ll come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

8. Clauses with if:

In clauses with if we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

We won’t be able to go out if it rains.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

I’ll come home when I will finish work.
We won’t be able to go out if it will rain rains.

But we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.

9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:

They’ll be coming to see us next week.
I will be driving to work tomorrow.






Excuse me.
Mind me if I ask this question.

"I’ll come home when I finish work."
is it different with :
"I’ll come home when I finish working" ?

Because I thought that the word "work" here act as the object (noun) so it is needed to choose gerund phrase "working".
Please enlighten me :)
thank you :)

Hello frisky,

'...finish work' refers to your job - your formal occupation.

'...finish working' refers to the activity you are engaged in. It may be your job, or it may be, for example, something you are doing in the garden.

Both 'work' and 'working' are noun forms here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I'm puzzled as to why the verb "will" is not clearly described as a MODAL auxiliary verb, when it clearly is a member of that class. Why is that?

Hello Bill_J,

This page describes ways of talking about the future but does not classify each one of them in terms of its grammatical category. To ensure accessibility and ease of use there is always a degree of selection in terms of how much information is placed on any given page - more information makes the page more comprehensive, of course, but can reduce ease of use for learners of the language.

'Will' is a modal verb, as is 'should', and they are identified as such on the page which is organised around that grammatical classification rather than around meaning and use. You can see that page here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hope you're doing well.
I just wanted to know if we can use the present simple after the construction "There will be a time when ......" as in the sentence " There will be a time when we are all tired and ...", or we should use "will" as in the sentence "There will be a time when we will be tired and ...".
Thanking you.

Thank you for your reply. I live in Nigeria, and the standard here is BrE. But since we're not native-speakers, we do make mistakes. I just wanted to know if that was one of them.
Also, with what you've stated, "I have something to do" is used rather than "I have something doing", isn't it?

Hello Emasearu,

Yes, 'something to do' is the correct form. We can use '-ing' but not in this context.

I have something to cook = something which I have to/need to/can coook

I have something cooking = something which is in the middle of cooking


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good day. I'd like to know if this sentence is correct: "I have somewhere going." I hear it sometimes my from people in my state. I was taught that we could say sth like "I'm going somewhere." or "I'm doing something.", but I do hear people reversing the position of the main verb.